Month: February 2018

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FOX Sports Adds Popular F1 Analyst, Champion Race Mechanic Matchett to Formula E Broadcast Team

Matchett: “Face Reality that Change is Not Merely Coming … it’s Already Here”

CHARLOTTE, NC – Steve Matchett, a former Formula One race mechanic and popular F1 television analyst, joins FOX Sports as a host for several FIA Formula E Championship races in 2018, beginning March 17 with Round 6 of the fully electric series from Punta Del Este, Uruguay.

Matchett, author of a semi-autobiographical trilogy based around his years in the Formula One pit lane, where he was part of F1 legend Michael Schumacher’s championship teams in 1994 and 1995, is intrigued by the zero-emission fledgling international race series.

“Formula E is a relatively new FIA series — and anything new comes with a promise of excitement,” Matchett said. “But, in Formula E’s case it’s also a unique form of motorsport: all-electric powered. Consequently, the sport ought to be treated as a unique series, for it’s really not possible to place it in any hierarchal structure. There’s no question, Formula E is still finding its place in this world, but I’m always interested in any new technology and, by extension, I’m interested to see how Formula E continues to grow, how it best utilizes and improves on this new gasoline-free technology.”

Matchett, who returns to FOX Sports after more than a dozen years with SPEED Channel as part of its Formula One broadcast team and, most recently, as part of NBC Sports’ coverage of F1, recognizes the potential generational shift in technology that Formula E represents.

“The ancient Romans were pretty good at building viaducts; Formula One built some outstanding V12 piston engines, and I hear Elon Musk’s engineers have just put one of his cars in orbit,” Matchett said. “Technical challenges may change from generation to generation, these depending on the needs of the moment, but the thrill of the challenge remains the same. In terms of future transportation and the future of international motor sport, we have to face the reality that change is not merely coming … it’s already here, it’s unfolding all around us. In light of all I’ve mentioned, I’m looking forward to covering the Formula E races. I’m interested to see what the future holds, how this promising series develops in the days, the months, the years to come.”

In addition to Punta Del Este, Matchett, who will share hosting duties with Ralph Sheheen and Brian Till, currently is set to host FOX Sports coverage of Formula E from Rome (April 14) and Paris (April 28), possibly joining the team again for the season finale New York ePrix in Brooklyn on the FOX broadcast network.

2018 Daytona 500 on FOX Logo

FOX NASCAR Veteran Voices Waltrip and Joy Break Down Storylines Headed into FOX Sports’ 15th Daytona 500

 

Waltrip: “NASCAR is giving teams just enough rope to get themselves in trouble”

With less than 48 hours before FOX Sports opens Daytona Speedweeks with the first on-track activity of the weekend, MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES practice on Saturday (10:30 AM ET on FS1), members of the network’s on-air broadcast team share their thoughts on the major storylines and key players as they embark on the new season. This year’s running of the “Great American Race” marks FOX Sports’ 15th, and Mike Joy, Larry McReynolds, Darrell Waltrip, Chris Myers and Matt Yocum all have been with the network since its first broadcast in 2001.

FOX commences its two weeks of coverage from Daytona International Speedway with the 60th running of the DAYTONA 500, live on Sunday, Feb. 18 (2:30 PM ET). Below are the thoughts of FOX NASCAR play-by-play announcer Mike Joy and analyst Darrell Waltrip:

FOX SPORTS: As we prepare to open the 2018 season, what are the top storylines you are watching heading into Daytona?

“I’m watching the young versus the veteran drivers. We all know who the young ones are, but most of the older ones don’t want to admit they are old. In my mind, the ‘older’ group is the one above their prime – above the 32-35-year-old line. But 30 is the ideal age in this sport. Look back over the years — Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Rusty Wallace, Terry Labonte, Tony Stewart, and I were all about 30 years old at our peak. As a driver, you ride that horse for a while. Then you turn 40 and things slow way down. For the majority, you’re lucky to win one race, let alone multiple ones, at that point. So, it will be interesting to watch the two age groups battle each other, particularly for those who aren’t quite aware which one they fall into.”
–Darrell Waltrip

“Every stage point matters. Martin Truex Jr. and Cole Pearn proved that last year as they cruised into the finale at Homestead. Expect every team that hopes to contend for the Cup to be fighting for stage points from the start. Additionally, is there parity? It won’t be so evident at Daytona and Talladega where the aero rules are different, but I’ll be surprised if Chevy’s new Camaro body isn’t the equal of Toyota’s Camry on the intermediate tracks.”
–Mike Joy

FOX SPORTS: Which of the young drivers do you think is poised to be the breakout star of the group?

“Kyle Larson already is a star, as is Ryan Blaney. Chase Elliott will be, whether he wins often or not. So, I look at Erik Jones and Alex Bowman, who each have a year of Cup experience under their belts, as best poised to win a race this year.”
–Mike Joy

FOX SPORTS: Will Hendrick Motorsports rebound to its usual prominence this year?

“Based on early testing, the new Chevrolet Camaro should help. It’s better aerodynamically, which is where they were hurting. You can’t keep a powerhouse like Hendrick down forever. They’ll be competitive. Martin Truex Jr. ran over the competition last year, and he did it with a fast car. The first thing Hendrick has to do is match his speed.”
–Darrell Waltrip

“Of course they will. Like all the top teams, they worked hard in the offseason, and the aerodynamics of the new Camaro body will erase much of their deficit to the Camry.”
–Mike Joy

FOX SPORTS: How much pressure is on Jimmie Johnson to lead Hendrick Motorsports with two young drivers, Alex Bowman and William Byron, coming in this year?

“The biggest difference with the Hendrick team might be what their new drivers bring to team debriefs and strategy sessions. As they develop, it may be the second half of the season before the entire group performs to its potential.”
–Mike Joy

FOX SPORTS: How might the complexion of the Daytona 500 change this year with the new package, including the elimination of the ride-height rule and teams bringing their own rear shocks and springs?

“NASCAR is giving teams just enough rope to get themselves in trouble in Daytona. The cars should be faster with the elimination of the ride-height rule and teams’ ability to use different shocks and springs. NASCAR better have a bunch of smaller restrictor plates laying around when we get there because they will be faster than they have been in a while.”
–Darrell Waltrip

“The Fords may have several advantages at both restrictor plate tracks. Their bodies create less downforce than the Chevys and Toyotas, and the Ford bumper faces are flatter, which makes for more predictable bump drafting. If two Fords hook up in the closing laps, they could be very tough to beat.”
–Mike Joy


FOX SPORTS: What do you expect out of the new Chevy Camaro? Is the Ford camp at a disadvantage with an older body?

“The Ford Fusion NASCAR body was designed to be optimized using a tall and wide rear spoiler. That aero package is no longer used. The new Camry and Camaro manage the air differently and were designed to maximize the effect of the shorter, lower spoilers in use today. I expect the Ford to have a speed advantage at Daytona and Talladega but the Camry and Camaro to be better on the intermediate tracks.
–Mike Joy

FOX SPORTS: How much of an advantage will it be for the teams running the Clash at Daytona in preparation for the Duel and the Daytona 500?

“The Clash drivers will have a huge advantage because they will experience the car under the new package in the draft before the others. I wouldn’t want to be in that race, but I sure would want a couple of my teammates who are.”
–Darrell Waltrip

FOX SPORTS: Who is your preseason pick to win the championship?
“I think this year’s champ will be named Kyle… could be Larson, might be Busch.”
–Mike Joy

FOX SPORTS: FOX Sports marks its 15th Daytona 500 broadcast with this year’s edition. What is your best memory in the TV booth since 2001?

“My best memory on the air for FOX is also my worst memory. Daytona 2001. My brother, Michael, won his first NASCAR race and Dale Earnhardt lost his life. An incredibly high high and an incredibly low low all at the same time. It was the first Cup race I’d called and one of the best we had seen in quite some time. It was both exhilarating and gut-wrenching and always will be.”
–Darrell Waltrip

FOX SPORTS: Anything else on your mind?

“Yes, I wish NASCAR wouldn’t take the cars back to the R&D Center following a race. If you go through pre- and post-qualifying and pre- and post-race inspection and are legal, they should send you home with your car. End of story. Taking the cars back, disassembling them and looking for something wrong isn’t good for the sport.”
–Darrell Waltrip

2016 NHRA on FOX Broadcast Team

FOX Sports NHRA Broadcast Team Offers Insight Ahead of Sunday’s Season Opener

Pedregon: “2018 Funny Car Class … Most Competitive Field in More Than a Decade”

CHARLOTTE, NC – FOX Sports opens the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series this weekend from Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif., with three hours of final-round coverage live on FS1 on Sunday, Feb. 11 (5:00 PM ET).

Coverage of the Lucas Oil Winternationals begins Friday, Feb. 9 (6:00 PM ET) with Friday Nitro Live on FS1.

Dave Rieff, Tony Pedregon and Bruno Massel return to the booth for the FOX NHRA broadcast team, with reporting from Lewis Bloom, Amanda Busick, Jamie Howe and John Kernan.

Heading into the season, boothmates Rieff, two-time Funny Car champion Pedregon and Massel offer insights into the big stories, new faces in new places, comeback candidates and their picks for the 2018 championships.

FOX Sports: As we prepare to open the 2018 NHRA season, what are the top one or two storylines you are looking at heading into Pomona?

  • Pedregon: The first is the 2018 Funny Car class. It may well be the most competitive field in more than a decade. As it stands, there will be at least three big-name drivers who will not make the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship due to the depth of competition … the other would be Brittany Force, who made history in 2017 as the first woman to win a Top Fuel championship in 35 years. Top Fuel may not have the depth that we see in Funny Car, but there are easily five drivers who are more than capable of winning the championship.
  • Rieff: Top stories coming into 2018 are Brittany Force and Steve Torrence for all the obvious reasons. Brittany just the second woman Top Fuel champion, and Steve is on an all-out redemption tour … Over the last 15 seasons, there has not been a repeat Funny Car champ. John Force was the last to do it in 2002. It proves the strength of the category, which only gets stronger this year with Shawn Langdon moving over and Bob Tasca returning full time. It is THE class with a ton of heavy hitters … Other stories worth watching include Ron Capps and Torrence, as both enjoyed incredible 2017 seasons that fell short, and Tanner Gray in Pro Stock — how will he respond after a great rookie campaign?
  • Massel: The top storylines heading into Pomona would have to be some of the crew chief changes we have seen. Mike Neff, leaving John Force Racing and heading over to archrival Don Schumacher Racing … Brian Corradi, co-crew chief to two-time Top Fuel champ Antron Brown, going the other direction and heading to JFR from DSR. There were some fireworks last year as a result of some crew chief swaps between these teams and this might cause some drama early on.

FOX Sports: Are there any new faces fans should be paying attention to in any of the pro classes – if so, who and why?
Pedregon: A familiar face in a different place, Shawn Langdon is in the seat of a Kalitta Funny Car that can win races, and with Shawn’s ability, should be good for at least a couple wins … Bob Tasca is bringing Ford back into the mix and could mix things up as well … Doug Vancil with the Vance & Hines Top Fuel Harley will be jumping into this exciting class and will instantly be a front-runner.

  • Rieff: I like Mike Salinas. He’s been around for a number of years and is serious about his Top Fuel racing. Not the first time we’ve seen him, but I would say that he has been “gearing” up for this opportunity his whole life. It would not surprise me to see him in final rounds this year … and shoot, why not a win?
  • Massel: A racer fans should pay attention to in 2018 is a familiar face in a new place. Shawn Langdon, former Top Fuel champion and two-time Sportsman champ, has made the switch to Funny Car. He is a talented driver in a very strong car, with all the funding and resources necessary to win a championship. I expect him to struggle a bit with the change early on, but after he gets a few races under his belt, this will definitely be a team to watch.

FOX Sports: Among racers who didn’t perform as well as expected in 2017, who do you expect to bounce back and why?
Pedregon: Steve Torrence will be interesting to watch since he let the championship slip away at the final race of 2017. I believe he now has not only the motivation, but the experience needed to go along with his talent. Now that he has been through a battle, he will know how to deal with pressure … Tony Schumacher will be another driver who will climb back up the ladder now that he has a new tuner.

  • Rieff: Tony Schumacher — Top Fuel’s best does not measure up with an eighth-place finish. Let’s see how “Zippy” does in 2018 … in Funny Car, John Force and Cruz Pedregon; the division’s most talented looked otherwise in 2017 … In Pro Stock, Vincent Nobile — the “natural” with a very un-natural year. I expect him to rebound.
  • Massel: I’m going to go out on limb here and declare “The Sarge,” Tony Schumacher, comeback racer of the year. In 2017, the Army car just seemed to be missing something all year long. Cue new crew Chief Mike Neff, from John Force Racing’s Funny Car teams, and you just might have the missing piece of the puzzle the Army team needs to go back to the front of the pack.

FOX Sports: Give me your preseason pick for 2018 champions in the pro divisions.

  • Pedregon:
    • Top Fuel: Not easy to do this year, but it will be Steve Torrence edging out Doug Kalitta.
    • Funny Car: Courtney Force will have the best car and can win if she’s up to the challenge.
    • Pro Stock: A Tanner Gray/Greg Anderson showdown going down to late rounds at the last race, with Tanner coming out on top.
    • Pro Stock Motorcycle: Bike belongs to the Harleys unless someone like LE Tonglet or Matt Smith can step up, but this time Andrew Hines will win.
  • Rieff:
    • Top Fuel: Doug Kalitta (finally) — second in the points with only one win. Jim Oberhofer is now only tuning, for the title.
    • Funny Car: Ron Capps — I love (tuner) Ron Tobler’s approach. Last two years, they’ve been tough to beat. Expect that to continue.
    • Pro Stock: Heart surgery/teammates — not in 2018; it’s Greg Anderson’s year.
  • Massel:
    • Top Fuel: Steve Torrence; after a tough championship loss on the final day of the season, this team has a chip on its shoulder and everything needed to take the final step in ’18.
    • Funny Car: Matt Hagan always has one of the quickest and fastest cars. If they can find more consistency, he will get his third championship.
    • Pro Stock: Greg Anderson is overdue. He has the team, experience, mental toughness and horsepower to get another championship.
    • Pro Stock Motorcycle: Eddie Krawiec, reigning champ, gets the nod over his Harley Davidson teammate.
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FOX Sports, Partners Go All Out for Daytona Day

250 Fan Viewing Parties, Nine Racetrack-Supported Parties, Fort Campbell Viewing Party Highlight Daytona 500 Fan Celebration
Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay Returns with New Menu Items, Recipe Cards

CHARLOTTE, NC – FOX Sports and its partners are taking the Daytona 500 on the road, creating Daytona Day viewing opportunities in nearly 20 states in celebration of the 60th running of the Daytona 500, live on FOX on Sunday, Feb. 18 (2:30 PM ET).

With an eye toward attracting new viewers, while celebrating the existing NASCAR fan base, Daytona Day has something for everyone.

In partnership with Xfinity, FOX Sports is supporting 250 Daytona Day House Parties in select markets. In addition, nine NASCAR race tracks are hosting viewing parties at various locations, and FOX Sports and Toyota are partnering to host a viewing party from Fort Campbell, an Army installation on the border of Kentucky and Tennessee, with a live hit during the FOX broadcast pre-race show (1:00 PM ET).

NASCAR tracks supporting the Daytona Day campaign include Auto Club Speedway, Darlington Raceway, Dover International Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Michigan International Speedway, Richmond Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway.

Each of the private house parties receives a branded Daytona Day party kit, with social media amplification by both FOX Sports and Xfinity social media channels, and possible live look-ins from one lucky Xfinity X1 customer’s party on FOX Sports and FS1 pre-race programs.

“At its core, Daytona Day is an open invitation to join the party,” said Nancy MacDonald, FOX Sports VP of Brand Marketing. “It’s about gathering with friends and family, sharing in the anticipation, the history and the unique pageantry that goes along with the Daytona 500, a must-see event on the sports calendar. FOX Sports and its partners are enthusiastically uniting all of the celebrations under one banner — Daytona Day.”

Once again, celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay offers a special Daytona Day menu, with new recipes for the 2018 season, and UberEATS returns with Daytona Day initiatives in 11 markets, including new markets Charlotte and Washington, DC.

In addition to support from NASCAR and Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR premier series title sponsor Monster Energy will offer “Stock Up for Daytona Day” point of sale signage in key Florida markets.

2018 Daytona Day Marketing Breakdown:

Partners – Monster Energy, Toyota, Xfinity, UberEATS, DISH, NASCAR, Daytona International Speedway … FOX Sports also provides Daytona Day toolkits and social media content to Daytona International Speedway Founding Partners: Toyota, Chevy, Florida Hospital, Sunoco and Axalta.

On-Air – More than half a dozen promotional spots, including the anthem spot, Holiday, that premiered during the NFC Divisional Championship.

Digital – Partnering with NASCAR, FOX Sports launches a series this week of Q&As on Twitter. Participants include NASCAR President Brent Dewar (2/9), FOX NASCAR analyst and two-time Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip (2/7), racers Chase Elliott (2/13), William Byron (2/15) and Christopher Bell (2/16), as well as the Daytona 500 pole winner (2/12) and others…FOX Sports unveils Stories from the Start Line, a series of digital short stories about fans who engaged in the tradition of signing the Daytona start/finish line, and the personal Daytona Day stories that define NASCAR fans around the world.

FOX Sports, Partners Go All Out for Daytona Day (303 kB, last updated February 2018)
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Veteran Broadcaster Jimmy Smith Makes Octagonside Debut with Jon Anik to Call UFC 221: ROMERO VS. ROCKHOLD

UFC Welterweight Champion Woodley, Retired Contender Florian And Lead Host Bryant On FOX Sports Desk Friday And Saturday
UFC 221 PRELIMS on FS1, FOX Deportes and FOX Sports GO

LOS ANGELES, CA – Today, FOX Sports announces veteran MMA analyst Jimmy Smith joins blow-by-blow announcer Jon Anik to call UFC 221: ROMERO VS. ROCKHOLD live from Perth, Australia, on FS1 Saturday, Feb. 10 (8:00 PM ET). Reporter Megan Olivi interviews fighters on-site. UFC heavyweight contender Fabricio Werdum, welterweight contender Santiago Ponzinibbio and Victor Davila call the Spanish language telecast on FOX Deportes.

UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, retired contender Kenny Florian and lead UFC host Karyn Bryant are on the FOX Sports desk in the Los Angeles studio for UFC 221 programming on Friday, Feb. 9 and Saturday, Feb. 10.

At UFC 221, the interim UFC middleweight championship is on the line as former titleholder and current No. 2-ranked Luke Rockhold (16-3) battles number-one contender Yoel Romero (12-2) in the main event. Rockhold, one of the premier middleweights of this era, has held both the UFC and Strikeforce titles at 185 pounds, where he has defeated the best his division has to offer. Chris Weidman, Michael Bisping, Jacare Souza, Tim Kennedy and Lyoto Machida have all suffered defeat at his hands, and at UFC 221, the dynamic Californian looks to start his 2018 campaign by regaining his title.

Standing in the way of Rockhold is Cuba’s Yoel Romero, one of the most explosive athletes to ever step into the Octagon. A former Olympic wrestling Silver medalist, Romero has dynamite in his fists, feet and knees and has an array of highlight-reel victories to his name as he looks to strike UFC gold.

FOX Sports begins its coverage of UFC 221 with UFC TONIGHT on FS2 and FOX Sports GO Wednesday, Feb. 7 (8:00 PM ET). Host Florian and guest host and former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping preview UFC 221. The UFC 221 WEIGH-IN SHOW takes place on Friday, Feb. 9 (9:30 PM ET) on FS1 and FOX Sports GO with host Bryant and analysts Woodley and Florian previewing the upcoming fights. Olivi interviews fighters onsite in Perth.

Saturday’s programming begins with the UFC 221 PREFIGHT SHOW on FS1 and FOX Sports GO (7:00 PM ET) as Bryant, Woodley and Florian break down the evening’s fights, while Olivi adds reports.

The two-hour UFC 221 PRELIMS continue on FS1, FOX Sports GO and FOX Deportes at 8:00 PM ET and feature four action-packed bouts. Lightweights Damien Brown (17-11) and Dong Hyun Kim (15-8-3) tangle, while Rob Wilkinson (11-1) and Israel Adesanya (11-0) square off at 185 pounds. Alexander Volkanovski (16-1) faces Jeremy Kennedy (11-0). Plus, No. 4-ranked Jussier Formiga (20-5) and No. 8 Ben Nguyen (17-6) open the PRELIMS with an exciting flyweight bout. The action wraps up immediately following the main event with the FS1 UFC 221 POSTFIGHT SHOW, with winner’s interviews and fight analysis.

Leading up to UFC 221, UFC fighters offer unique, behind-the-scenes clips on FOX Sports PROcast and on the FOX UFC social pages. Follow @UFConFOX on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for all updates throughout the #UFC221 fights this Saturday. You can follow FOX Sports talent at: Jimmy Smith – @jimmysmithmma; Jon Anik – @Jon¬_Anik; Megan Olivi – @MeganOlivi; Victor Davila – @mastervic10; Fabricio Werdum – @FabricioWerdum; Santiago Ponzinibbio – @SPonzinibbioMMA; Tyron Woodley – @TWooodley; Kenny Florian – @KennyFlorian; and Karyn Bryant – @KarynBryant.

Viewers can live stream the UFC shows on FOX Sports GO, available in English or Spanish through the FS1 or FOX Deportes feeds. The shows are available on desktop at FOXSportsGO.com and through the app store or on connected devices including Apple TV, Android TV, Fire TV, Xbox One and Roku. In addition, all programs are also available on FOX Sports on SiriusXM channel 83 on satellite radios and on the SiriusXM app.

FOX SPORTS UFC PROGRAMMING SCHEDULE

DATE TIME (ET) EVENT NET*
Wednesday,

Feb. 7

8:00 PM UFC TONIGHT FS2
Friday,

Feb. 9

9:30 PM FS1 UFC 221 WEIGH-IN SHOW FS1
Saturday,

Feb. 10

7:00 PM FS1 UFC 221 PREFIGHT SHOW FS1
Saturday,

Feb. 10

8:00 PM FS1 UFC 221 PRELIMS FS1 / FOX Deportes
Saturday,

Feb. 10

1:00 AM FS1 UFC 221 POSTFIGHT SHOW FS1

*All programs also available on FOX Sports GO and FOX Sports on SiriusXM channel 83.

NEW YORK CITY - FEBRUARY 14:  Fox Sports at WKC on  February 14, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Hider)

FOX Sports Unleashes Its Pack for 2018 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

FOX, FS1, Nat Geo WILD & FOX Sports GO Present More Coverage of “Westminster Week” Than Ever Before
Shannon Sharpe and Kristine Leahy Join Cast of Familiar FOX Sports Faces Covering 142nd Annual Show from New York City
Masters Agility Championship at Westminster Moves to FOX Broadcast Network

NEW YORK, NY – With football’s big game come and gone, another breed of athlete is getting ready for its turn in the spotlight, as FOX Sports and Nat Geo WILD present more coverage of “Westminster Week” than ever before from Sunday, Feb. 11, through Tuesday, Feb. 13. Headlining the networks’ coverage are several familiar faces from FOX Sports’ live event and studio programming, including Westminster Kennel Club newcomers Super Bowl Champion, NFL Hall of Famer and co-host of SKIP AND SHANNON: UNDISPUTED Shannon Sharpe and co-host of THE HERD WITH COLIN COWHERD Kristine Leahy.

Also new in 2018, the Masters Agility Championship at Westminster moves to the FOX broadcast network for the first time ever, from 2:00-4:30 PM ET on Sunday, Feb. 11. Play-by-play announcer Justin Kutcher, analyst Terry Simons and reporter Jennifer Hale return to call the fifth annual event from Piers 92 and 94 in New York City to kick off Westminster Week.

Gail Miller Bisher, the voice of the Westminster Kennel Club, and veteran FOX Sports announcer Chris Myers return to the broadcast podium at Madison Square Garden for FS1’s primetime telecasts of the 142nd annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show from 8:00-11:00 PM ET on Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 12-13, and are joined by longtime judge Jason Hoke. Also returning to this year’s broadcast, FOX Sports’ Karyn Bryant interviews the group and Best in Show winners and judges, and Jenny Taft reprises her role as the event’s host, welcoming viewers in to the second-longest continuously running national sporting event.

Sharpe joins FS1’s primetime coverage of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Monday and Tuesday nights, showcasing the human side of the nation’s top canine event. He also serves as a floor reporter during daytime breed judging on Nat Geo WILD on Monday and Tuesday from 1:00-4:00 PM ET.

Leahy joins FOX Sports’ Westminster Kennel Club coverage as a correspondent during FS1’s evening coverage and as a floor reporter during Nat Geo WILD’s daytime coverage. Leahy tracks social engagement during this year’s event, including for Westminster Kennel Club’s “Best at Home” contest. Viewers are encouraged to share photos and videos of their own dogs on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook for a chance to crown their pet with this unique honor. Click HERE for the official rules.

During daytime breed judging on Nat Geo WILD on Monday and Tuesday, Kutcher is joined by Kimberly Meredith-Cavanna and Don Sturz live from Piers 92 and 94, where Sharpe, Leahy, Hale and Rachel Bonnetta serve as floor reporters. Bonnetta is also FOX Sports’ digital correspondent with hits live on the FOX Sports Facebook page from behind the scenes at Madison Square Garden ahead of group judging both nights and from the Best In Show press conference.

The full schedule of Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show coverage on FOX, FS1, Nat Geo WILD and FOX Sports GO can be found below and at WestminsterKennelClub.org.

2018 Westminster Week Programming Schedule

Date Time Event Network
Sunday, Feb. 11 2:00-4:30 PM ET Masters Agility Championship at Westminster FOX
8:00-10:00 PM ET Road to Westminster Nat Geo WILD
Monday, Feb. 12 8:30 AM-5:00 PM ET Breed Judging,

Junior Showmanship Preliminaries,

Masters Obedience Championship

FOX Sports GO & WestminsterKennelClub.org
1:00-4:00 PM ET Select Breed Judging, Masters Obedience Championship Nat Geo WILD
7:00-8:00 PM ET Best of 2016 Westminster Dog Show FS1
8:00-11:00 PM ET Dog Show

Group Competitions

FS1
11:00-11:30 PM ET Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Post-Show FS1
Tuesday, Feb. 13 8:00 AM-4:00 PM ET Breed Judging,

Junior Showmanship Preliminaries

FOX Sports GO & WestminsterKennelClub.org
1:00-4:00 PM ET Select Breed Judging, Junior Showmanship Preliminaries Nat Geo WILD
7:00-8:00 PM ET Crowned: Inside the 2017 Westminster Dog Show FS1
8:00-11:00 PM ET Dog Show

Group Competitions & Best In Show

FS1
11:00-11:30 PM ET Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Post-Show FS1
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FOX Sports Launches New Soccer Podcast, Alexi Lalas’ State of the Union

LOS ANGELES, CA – FOX Sports, home of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, today launched a new weekly soccer podcast, Alexi Lalas’ State of the Union, expanding its digital offerings and podcast portfolio ahead of this summer’s most anticipated global event. For its first episode, FOX Sports presents a special edition dedicated to the upcoming U.S. Soccer Presidential election.

The 45-minute conversations premiere every Tuesday at 5:00 AM ET on iTunes and feature Lalas, a U.S. Soccer Hall of Famer, as he examines the issues affecting the sport and provides in-depth analysis on the state of U.S. Soccer and Major League Soccer. Joining the U.S. MNT legend regularly is FOX Sports researcher David Mosse and a rotation of FOX Sports on-air personalities and other top newsmakers.

Lalas serves as the lead studio analyst for the network’s premier soccer portfolio, including UEFA Champions League, U.S. Men’s National Team matches, Major League Soccer, FIFA World Cups and the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

In June, Alexi Lalas’ State of the Union heads to Russia for a special World Cup edition, set to premiere Tuesday, June 12. The World Cup episodes will feature comprehensive tournament previews, analysis and player interviews live from Moscow.

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FOX Sports Powers into Daytona 500, Kicking Off 18th Season of NASCAR Coverage

Nearly 100 Hours of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series Speedweeks Coverage Culminates with Feb. 18 DAYTONA 500 on FOX
2012 Champ Keselowski Serves as FS1 Analyst for NASCAR XFINITY SERIES Season Opener

CHARLOTTE, NC – FOX Sports powers into its 18th consecutive season of NASCAR coverage, beginning with Daytona Speedweeks, which culminates with the 60th running of the iconic DAYTONA 500 from Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, Feb. 18 (2:30 PM ET). Live coverage begins at 1:00 PM ET with FOX NASCAR SUNDAY, preceded by NASCAR RACEDAY at 11:00 AM ET, also on FOX.

FOX NASCAR’s presentation of Daytona Speedweeks, highlighted by FOX Sports’ 15th DAYTONA 500, features nearly 100 hours of multi-platform programming.

DAYTONA 500
For its 15th DAYTONA 500, FOX NASCAR offers with seven NASCAR premier series championships’ worth of analysis and insight from Hall of Famer and three-time champ Darrell Waltrip alongside four-time champion Jeff Gordon, with veteran play-by-play announcer Mike Joy, covering his 43rd DAYTONA 500, and DAYTONA 500-winning crew chief Larry McReynolds with race analysis. This year’s running of the “Great American Race” marks the 20th anniversary of McReynolds leading Dale Earnhardt to his elusive DAYTONA 500 victory in 1998 atop the pit box for Richard Childress Racing.

Delivering stories and updates from pit road are pit reporters Jamie Little, FOX NASCAR newcomer and NASCAR driver Regan Smith, Vince Welch and Matt Yocum. Chris Myers hosts FOX NASCAR SUNDAY and the network’s coverage from the famed Hollywood Hotel mobile studio alongside Michael Waltrip, Darrell Waltrip and Gordon. Joy, McReynolds, Myers, Darrell Waltrip and Yocum were members of the original FOX NASCAR on-air team that debuted at Daytona in 2001.

The DAYTONA 500 is streamed live in both English and Spanish through FOX Sports GO, the critically acclaimed app that provides live streaming video of FOX Sports content at home or on-the-go. All FOX NASCAR programming is live streamed on FOX Sports GO. FOX Deportes, the No. 1 Spanish-language sports network in the U.S., offers live coverage of the DAYTONA 500.

FOX Sports’ Daytona Speedweeks coverage kicks off Saturday, Feb. 10 on FS1 with MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES PRACTICE for THE CLASH AT DAYTONA (10:30 AM ET). Off-the-track, FS1 offers live coverage of DAYTONA 500 MEDIA DAY on Wednesday, Feb. 14 (12:00-2:00 PM ET), as well as a recap of the day’s happenings on an expanded edition of NASCAR RACE HUB at 5:00 PM ET.

THE CLASH AT DAYTONA
THE CLASH AT DAYTONA, the first NASCAR event of the season, moves back to an afternoon start time in 2018, airing live on FS1 on Sunday, Feb. 11 (3:00 PM ET). Joy, Darrell Waltrip and Gordon call the 75-lap, non-points race with McReynolds and pit reporters Little, Welch and Yocum. Myers and Michael Waltrip host the network’s coverage from the Hollywood Hotel.

DAYTONA 500 QUALIFYING
DAYTONA 500 QUALIFYING is broadcast live on FOX on Sunday, Feb. 11 (12:00 PM ET), setting the prestigious first and second starting positions for the DAYTONA 500, as well as the starting order for the CAN-AM DUEL AT DAYTONA.

CAN-AM DUEL AT DAYTONA
The complete DAYTONA 500 starting order is determined following the CAN-AM DUEL AT DAYTONA, live on FS1 on Thursday, Feb. 15 (7:00 PM ET). The pair of qualifying races is run under the lights with Joy, Darrell Waltrip and Gordon on the call, with race analysis by McReynolds and pit reporting by Little, Smith, Welch and Yocum. Myers and Michael Waltrip host.

NASCAR XFINITY SERIES
FOX Sports kicks off its fourth year of NASCAR XFINITY SERIES coverage from Daytona on Saturday, Feb. 17 with the season opener at 2:30 PM ET. Adam Alexander calls the action alongside Michael Waltrip and 2012 MONSTER ENERY NASCAR CUP SERIES champion Brad Keselowski with pit reporting by Little, Smith and Yocum. NASCAR RACEDAY – XFINITY, FS1’s XFINITY Series pre-race show, hosted by Shannon Spake and McReynolds, previews the action at 2:00 PM ET.

NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES
In its 16th year of exclusive coverage on FOX Sports, the NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES opens its season on Friday, Feb. 16 (7:30 PM ET) on FS1, with complete pre-race coverage beginning with NASCAR RACEDAY: NCWTS at 7:00 PM ET. Vince Welch has the call alongside Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip. Hermie Sadler and Alan Cavanna cover pit road. John Roberts hosts NCWTS SETUP with analysis from two-time series champion Todd Bodine and Jeff Hammond and reporting by Sadler and Cavanna.

NASCAR RACEDAY
Before FOX coverage of the DAYTONA 500 begins on Sunday, Feb. 18, NASCAR RACEDAY (11:00 AM ET) is broadcast moves from FS1 to FOX for the first time. John Roberts hosts with analysis from Jeff Hammond and Bobby Labonte from the Charlotte studio with at-track reporting from Cavanna and Kenny Wallace. NASCAR RACEDAY also airs immediately preceding THE CLASH AT DAYTONA and the CAN-AM DUEL on FS1.

NASCAR RACE HUB
FS1’s NASCAR RACE HUB, NASCAR’s most-watched daily news and update show, which enjoyed a 15% total viewership increase (166,000 vs. 144,000) in 2017 vs. 2016, airs Monday through Thursdays at 6:00 PM ET during the NASCAR season and is hosted by Alexander and Spake. Returning analysts include Jeff Hammond, Jeff Gordon, Michael Waltrip, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Chad Knaus, Regan Smith, Todd Bodine, David Ragan, Drew Blickensderfer, Austin Dillon, AJ Allmendinger, Bobby Labonte and Casey Mears. Alan Cavanna and Kenny Wallace offer live reports from the track during Daytona Speedweeks. On the weekends, the show continues with NASCAR RACE HUB WEEKEND EDITION, hosted by Roberts.

NASCAR RACE CLASSIC SPECIALS
In addition, FOX Sports has several NASCAR specials planned during Daytona Speedweeks. Immediately following the Friday, Feb. 16 NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES race, FS1 premieres NASCAR RACE CLASSIC: THE 1998 DAYTONA 500, a condensed version of the original race broadcast highlighting Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s elusive win. On Thursday, Feb. 15, FS1 debuts NASCAR RACE CLASSIC: 1988 DAYTONA 500 (10:00 PM ET) following the CAN-AM DUEL AT DAYTONA live broadcast. These premieres are complemented by a special encore presentation of the third “Beyond the Wheel” short film series at 6:00 PM ET preceding Friday’s race.

ARCA RACING SERIES
Catch even more live on-track action as the ARCA RACING SERIES season opener airs live on FS1 on Saturday, Feb. 10 (4:00 PM ET). Kevin Lee calls the race with analysis from Phil Parsons and pit reporting by Jim Tretow and Dillon Welch (FOX broadcaster Vince Welch’s son).

For more media information relating to FOX Sports’ coverage of Daytona Speedweeks, visit FOX SPORTS PRESS PASS and follow @FOXSportsPR on Twitter. For the latest NASCAR news and information, please visit www.FOXSports.com and follow @NASCARonFOX on Twitter.

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FOX NASCAR Analysts McReynolds, Michael Waltrip, Petree and Smith Make Bold 2018 NASCAR Season & Championship Predictions

Smith: ‘I think this is the last year we see Jimmie Johnson race’

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – FOX NASCAR analysts Larry McReynolds, Andy Petree, Regan Smith and Michael Waltrip joined NASCAR RACE HUB co-hosts Adam Alexander and Shannon Spake Thursday for a War Room special in which they made predictions and analyzed the upcoming 2018 NASCAR season. Below are quotes from the episode. NASCAR RACE HUB airs Monday through Thursdays at 6:00 PM ET on FS1.

What is your bold prediction for 2018?
“Young William Byron will win a race in his first season and be a force in the sport. Look at what he has already done by winning so many Truck and Xfinity races. He will carry it on in the Cup Series.”
–Andy Petree

“Erik Jones will win multiple races. His first win will be at Atlanta, and he will win four races in 2018.”
–Michael Waltrip

“We’ve been waiting on Chase Elliott to find Victory Lane. Not only will he get that first win, but I think he will win at least three races in 2018. He will be the first Hendrick driver to win this year.”
–Larry McReynolds

“I think this is the last year we see Jimmie Johnson race. I think he’s going to retire after this year. I don’t have any inside information, but something tells me he has to be getting to that point in his career.”
–Regan Smith

Which four MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES drivers will compete for the championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November? Who wins the title?

“My final four look pretty similar to last year – the 78, 11, 18 and 9. Chase (Elliott) ran really well at the end of the 2017 season. All we have to go on is how these guys did last year. My champ is Kyle Busch. He’ll get his second championship. He has been that consistently good. But I have some questions about Ford.”
–Andy Petree

“It will be the 78, 18, 9 and 4. It’s so hard to keep a guy like Kevin Harvick out of the championship race. Truex will win more races than last year and Chase Elliott will have a breakout year. I’m going with Harvick for the championship because that team has had an entire year to keep working on their cars. They started picking things up just a little bit at the end of last year. Although they don’t have a new Ford body, Harvick still will get it done.”
–Regan Smith

“My bet is the 78, 48, 42 and 4 at Homestead. Jimmie Johnson will be back this year and you better not take your eye off of Kevin Harvick. Kyle Larson will rebound from what happened at the end of rounds 2 and 3 last year. If you just get Larson to Homestead, he has a great chance. That group will be back and be back with a vengeance.”
–Larry McReynolds

Which drivers should we be watching in 2018?
“I’ve watched William Byron since he came into the Truck Series. When he got to the Truck Series, he won the most races a rookie ever had, had the title in his sights, blew an engine at Phoenix and lost. He went to the Xfinity Series and did the same thing but won the championship. Plus, the new Chevrolet could help him this year.”
–Michael Waltrip

“I think we’ll be talking about all the young drivers a lot this season, but Erik Jones in particular. Once they get to the point in the schedule when he’s been to most of the tracks, given how he ran last summer and fall with a run of four consecutive top-five finishes and almost won the Bristol race, we’ll be talking about Erik Jones a lot.”
–Larry McReynolds

“Chase Elliott will have a breakout year. You could say last year was a breakout year, but he didn’t win. He’ll get that win and do special things this season. It all goes back to what happened at Martinsville last year. He’s a different driver since that incident and it toughened him up a bit.”
–Regan Smith

What is the biggest question mark for the season ahead?
“We saw Joey Logano come out of the box extremely hot last season – they were fast. Then they had the encumbered win at Richmond and didn’t look the same from that point on. I want to see what they did in the off season to get him comfortable, because even when he was struggling, the rest of Team Penske looked like they were figuring things out.”
–Regan Smith

“What has Team Penske changed to get the speed back? There’s nothing really changing with the Ford this year, so I think they’re a little behind in that area. Brad Keselowski made the Championship 4 last year, but the organization as a whole is a big question mark for me this year.”
–Larry McReynolds

“What will Hendrick Motorsports do in 2018? Jimmie Johnson is the only driver there who has won a race, and he hasn’t won since June last year. That’s a long dry streak for him with only one top-five finish in the last 23 races. They do have the new Camaro, so it could take a little time to adjust to that. But we just didn’t see speed out of that camp last season.”
–Michael Waltrip

How much pressure is on Jimmie Johnson given the inexperience in the Hendrick Motorsports driver lineup?
“There is a ton of pressure on Jimmie this year. When you look at how they will develop the new car and improve with it, they have two drivers learning everything they will on the race track when they go out there for the first time. So you can almost scratch them off and let them make mistakes for a little while. So, the burden falls on Jimmie and Chase Elliott as the only experienced drivers in that camp.”
–Regan Smith

Kaitlyn Vincie

Catching Up with FOX NASCAR & Supercross Reporter Kaitlyn Vincie

Up-and-Coming Broadcaster Adds Supercross Duties to Her Growing Portfolio

FOX NASCAR reporter Kaitlyn Vincie marks her seventh season with FOX Sports in 2018, adding Supercross to her reporting duties that also include NASCAR RACE HUB, NASCAR RACEDAY and NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES races on FS1. Beyond adding several Supercross events this year, Vincie assumed the two largest roles of her life in recent months – becoming a new mother and wife. Below, she shares her thoughts on this time in her life across all aspects. For more information on Vincie, please CLICK HERE.

FOX SPORTS: You became a mother for the first time last August, giving birth to a baby girl. What has most surprised you about having Kadence?

Vincie: “When you are pregnant, everyone gives you their (often unsolicited) advice about what to expect with a baby. So, nothing really caught me off guard too much. What has surprised me the most is how great of a sleeper Kadence is. We had heard horror stories about other babies, but somehow we got lucky. She first slept through the night at just seven weeks old. We were in Kansas for race weekend and I woke up in a panic because I hadn’t heard her cry out all night. Turns out, she was just fine … she just needed a lot of sleep that night. And from then on, she’s slept like a log.”

FOX SPORTS: You planned a wedding, got married, had a baby and helped your husband relocate to North Carolina, all within a couple of months. Which of those life-changing, stressful experiences was the most challenging and how are you settling into your new roles?

Vincie: “Honestly, the whole year was challenging — every single part of it. But somehow we made it through, due in large part to the support of both our families. But the hardest part was when Kadence was first born and Blake (husband) was splitting time between North Carolina and Colorado. Our situation was so unique, and both of us had career obligations that made it even more complicated. The fact that the No. 78 team won the title last year made a lot of those sacrifices and hardships completely worth it. It was pretty incredible to witness that moment first-hand for Blake when his lifelong goal came to fruition in Miami. Now that he is based in North Carolina, he’s heavily involved with a variety of roles locally but will still serve as the 78 car chief at-track on weekends.”

FOX SPORTS: You started a blog about being a new mom on the road … what kind of feedback have you gotten from folks?

Vincie: “It has been positive so far! I think it’s refreshing for people to see how normal we really are with the same parenting struggles as everyone else. It’s hard for working moms — you have a lot of things to balance and it takes a lot of coordination. My goal with the blog was to help other working moms and parents in general. I think there’s a misconception we all have multiple nannies and personal assistants that take care of our day-to-day life, but that’s simply not the case. We have people who help us when we are working, but other than that, we do everything ourselves when it comes to Kadence. When I’ve taken her to the racetrack, most times I’ve traveled with her on commercial flights alone. Trying to find our new ‘normal’ and sort out the details with Kadence has been a moving target from the very start.”

FOX SPORTS: You’ve been covering Supercross the past few weeks and first tackled it last season. As a newcomer, what is the biggest thing you have learned about that series?

Vincie: “My biggest observation so far from Supercross is the energy and environment they create on race day each week. It is unreal. With the pyrotechnics, the rider introductions, the music, Monster Energy girls, all of it — it’s an incredible show inside each stadium. There is a palpable energy that is very unique. And the athletes are so talented. I’m consistently amazed by what they are able to do, and the stress their bodies take on the bike.”

FOX SPORTS: How do the challenges of covering Supercross differ from those of pit road in NASCAR?

Vincie: “Pit road for a NASCAR race is different because you’re calling pit stops throughout the race and giving updates on what you hear drivers and teams talking about. But in Supercross, there is no communication you can listen to from rider to crew. So, a lot of my research and material for Supercross races come from conversations I’ve had with the rider prior to the race. But both sports are challenging. Especially if you didn’t grow up racing, working on cars or bikes, you are learning everything from the ground up.”

FOX SPORTS: What goals do you have personally and professionally this year?

Vincie: “All my personal goals were taken care of in 2017. We are, however, looking to expand our family at some point, but we aren’t in a hurry. Children change you (for the better) in nearly every way. Another personal goal is to be more involved with the military efforts NASCAR puts forth each weekend at the track. Our sport does so much for active military and veterans, and the patriotism displayed at the track each weekend is amazing. Professionally, I’m excited to continue working with Supercross and NASCAR in a variety of roles. This year, I’ll be doing some hosting for Race Hub, which is a huge career goal of mine for some time. Our Race Hub team is so talented, and it will be exciting for me to work with those individuals a little more closely. As always, I want to continue telling the unique and untold stories of the garage — whether ton pit road for the Truck Series, pre-race for the Cup Series or more “Women in Wheels” features on Hub. We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to pull back the curtain on people’s lives who make up this sport and share their stories with our viewers.”